History Changing Opportunity
A brief history of our time... with Penn
It's time to really start beating the drum about Homecoming and this very crucial game against Penn.
Let me lay out some of the facts about this series and why winning on Saturday would be a truly uplifting event for the football program, the alumni, the university, and New York City.
-Columbia has not defeated Penn since 1996. This is their longest dry spell against any Ivy team.
-In that 13 year span, Penn has won four Ivy titles, Columbia has not had even one winning season.
-Penn fans seem to rub victories over the Lions in our faces much more than the folks from other schools. I have no idea why, but there it is. Perhaps it's the NYC-Philly rivalry.
-Speaking of which, what a great day for New York City sports it would be for Columbia to win over Penn in the afternoon while the crowd builds at the new Yankee Stadium, (just a couple of miles away), for Game 2 of the ALCS vs. the Angels!
-The last time Columbia beat Penn on Homecoming was 1991. I was a senior at Columbia that year. The score was 20-14. Penn's coach Gary Steele was fired after the season, but he was clearly gone after that game.
-Key wins over Penn, and the most exciting ones in the series, came in 1995 and 1996. Columbia's 1995 win over the Quakers ended what was then the nation's longest active winning streak. A very banged up Lions team came into Franklin Field a year later and pulled off a stunner in OT in the high point of that 8-2 season.
-The Lions have not won a Homecoming game since 2000. Since then, four of those Homecoming games have been against Penn and the average score has been 42-14, Quakers.
-That is not to say that every game since 1996 has been a blowout. Last year's game was especially close and Columbia appeared like the more talented team in a 15-10 loss at Franklin Field.
-This rivalry has a seminal year to examine: 1982. Coming into that season, Penn had only won one Ivy title. But the Quakers emerged as a powerhouse that year, tying for the title and never really looking back from there. Penn has been a contender almost every year ever since. On the other hand, 1982 launched a tougher era for Columbia football that the previous 26 seasons of league history. It seems Penn's jump to the top of the league somehow came at the Lions expense.
Some would argue that this is the most wide open year for Ivy football since 1982. It was so open that three teams tied for the title in Harvard, Dartmouth and Penn. If ever there was a year that Columbia could hurdle some of its longstanding rivals, it seems like 2009 is it. Hurdling Penn on Saturday would be a huge step, perhaps just as huge as Penn's miraculous last second win over Harvard at Franklin Field in 1982.
-Beating Penn by any score would send a message to the league much louder than the 38-0 shutout of Princeton two weeks ago. The Quakers are a tough team and it will not be easy, but the Lions are strong enough to win. If Columbia fans and players were tired of losing to Princeton, then we're EXHAUSTED from losing to Penn.
This must end now.
Buy your tickets now and get ready to scream your head off. Call your friends and family and get them to join you. Contact that old classmate of yours who is a cynic about Columbia football and convince them that this team is different.
Because it is different.
The 2009 Columbia Lions deserve to see you pack Wien Stadium and they deserve to hear you on every play.